Fed up with school telling me off - is anyone else?(94 Posts)
I know I am educationalist and supposed to be very clued up on all this stuff, but I needed to hang out at the village pump a bit with other people who have kids in secondary school, as I am feeling very fed up and ranty.
My kids are at a good school but I think they have forgotten DH and I are not in fact pupils. Barely a day seems to go by without some snippy message via email or phone to us at work telling us things like:
1. How to wipe out one of our children's schoolbags after some sort of leak, in step by step instructions as if we were about aged 6. FFS! I HAVE FOUR KIDS AND A FUCKING HOUSEKEEPING BLOG THAT GETS THOUSANDS OF HITS A MONTH! I DON'T NEED TEACHING HOW TO WIPE THINGS.
2. The minor homework infractions that have occurred despite us sitting there for hours each week with the kids, trying to fathom what on earth the homework is really supposed to be, etc. PERHAPS IF THE HOMEWORK WASN'T SO BORING THE KIDS MIGHT ACTUALLY PAY MORE ATTENTION? DID YOU THINK OF THAT? Who wants to spend hours every week pencil drawing a rumpled shirt over and over again, anyway? God forbid. I am losing the will to live, I really am.
3. The constant detentions intruding into family life relating to minor homework infractions. SEE ABOVE! DO YOU LOT REALISE THAT IF YOU KEEP THE KIDS BEHIND, THEY WILL GET HOME HOURS LATE BECAUSE OF THE WIERD TRAIN TIMETABLE, AND NOT BE ABLE TO DO THE NEXT LOT OF HOMEWORK PROPERLY, AND END UP GETTING MORE DETENTIONS???? AND WE HAVE MORE KIDS WHO END UP BEING AFFECTED AS WELL!!!!
4. Calls from the school medical centre demanding we drop everything at work, and drive the 60-mile round trip to collect kids with supremely minor ailments 'because they have to be released to an adult and can't make their own way home'. Today's special was an anecdotal report of sickness from a child who proceeded to put away pizza and trifle for lunch, have hot chocolate and cake after school, and then wolf down pasta with meatballs for dinner. SICK MY ARSE! When I pointed out this was happening for a range of ailments every 2-3 weeks and dared to say I wouldn't be able to do this from January thanks to my new job, unless the kids were in A and E or vomiting all over the health centre floor in a dramatic fashion, the implication was that I was somehow out of step and deviant. FFS!
At the moment I feel like taking them out of school, dumping them in a public library while I am at work and telling them to educate themselves, because it couldn't be more stressful than these endless snippy communications and criticisms.
I am wondering what would happen if I simply don't respond to their emails and calls?? <brave>
Soundsdreadful and unnecessary to me. My dd's school is excellent, gets good results, till reading this I thought was strict but having read yours it's like a walk in the park! My dd is quite disorganised and forgets books and homework but I think has only had one detention - generally there is another opportunity to hand late stuff in or several opportunities. Seems pointless to endlessly punish like this - if the homework isn't done then the child won't learn is what matters not that it reflects some inherent 'bad attitude' which must be punished - seems a v negative view of the child.
Sounds a ghastly school and v unsupportive.
I do not think that generally speaking it helps children to think that they can miss a deadline several times and that there will be no consequences.
Never understood the detention for no homework lark. Homework not handed is a note in the diary email home. When the late homework comes in it goes to bottom of the pile of marking (unless there's a very good reason - repeat email won't open/my printer won't work offenders are given short shrift).
The late homework is returned when it makes its way to the top of the pile - weeks later.
The reward for punctual homework is a quick turnaround on the marking. The students understand this very well; they really appreciate swift marking/assessment.
Some parents are not keen on my no detentions for no homework. I politely remind them that homework is done at HOME. Why should the student effectively be rewarded with more of my time?
My DS is in Year 7 and although a bright boy is not at all motivated by the prospect of getting his homework marked faster if he hands it in on time. Nor would he see a detention, or any other form of 1:1 time with a teacher after school, as a reward.
The suggestion that homework completed on time is a reward in its own right has definitely escaped him whereas the threat of detention (and seeing lots of them handed out) works. He is reluctantly conscientious about everything!
I suppose I wouldn't be happy if he was one of the children that was in detention three times a week but he does need a sanction hanging over his head in order to double check his school bag / complete a project well instead of quickly / remember to write the homework in his planner else he's be a lot more lazy and slapdash about the whole thing.
What seems wrong about Boffin's school seems to be that they don't differentiate between behaviour likely to have been caused by SEN and behaviour caused by sheer carelessness. If behaviour is/could conceivably be caused by SEN, then they should have a plan to overcome it and work with the pupil.
Otoh I do not agree with the idea that low level disruption and carelessness should not be punished in an NT child.
Ds has just been put back on report for carelessness, failure to concentrate in class and failure to do homework. I am delighted. All his teachers agree that he has never spoken rudely, never used violence and never damaged school property. But every time he keeps giggling in class or staring out of the window and refusing to get on with the lesson, he is disrupting somebody else's education and he needs to learn now that people won't accept that forever.
The school is very clear that they expect this to be his responsibility, not ours. Their rationale with detention for homework not completed is "this work has got to be done, you haven't done it, so now we are going to make sure you sit down and do it". Even ds gets that one.
I agree with breadandbutterfly.
Some children, without a SEN diagnosis, find organisation much, much harder than others. Presumably slow runners are not put in endless detentions for not running fast? Organisation is a skill like any other. I think punishments should be for when a child has not tried (or causes trouble as defined by BoffinMum) - not a response to a child struggling.
I have plenty of teachers in my family so I do understand how frustrating it is. I also have children who have been through two very different kinds of schools, and are doing well. My older child was chaos on legs at 11, and is now pretty well organised. The school's atitude was that she was doing her best - there would have been consequences if she had not been and she knew that.
Endless emails or calls abou trivia would drive me potty too. You are not in school with your children.
Absolutely - in year 7,getting your head round homework for loads of different subjects, remembering books etc is a skill that time to develop.Whilst it's fine to warn children and eventually give detention if work is missed, to do it as the first step seems unduly harsh - there IS a difference between deliberate laziness/decision NOT to do the work, and just leaving your book at home, not understanding work set, etc. Frankly, if a child is not understanding the work set then it's the teacher who deserves the detention for failing to explain clearly - and I say that as a teacher.
The child has to want to learn - I don't think it's the school's job to force children to learn, it's the school's job to enthuse the child so they want to learn, provide appropriate lessons and point out expectations. But ultimately, it's the child's loss if they won't do the work - the lack of good qualifications and lack of knowledge is the real 'punishment' - no other is or should be necessary. In fact, I suspect detention and other artificial punishments detract from that core message and make the child imagine they are doing the work as a favour for the school, rather than to benefit themselves.
I think I know the school BoffinMum is talking about (this is based on a school she has named several times on other threads).
If it's the one I'm thinking of the head is very clear at the parent meeting when making school choices that the school has these expectations of uniform/behaviour/homework (he mentioned boys would be sent home if their hair was deemed too long)
I think this is because it is a very oversubscribed school that is seen as the most desirable but the only way to maintain this reputation/results is to discourage applicantions from families who do not make education a high priority.
Until a few years ago there was a lot of back door selection (based on child & patent interviews). They take 10% by apptitude and people don't even believe that is solely based on the test (I have a child who passed but others parents in his primary were convinced the school had said he was top overall in class rather than better than their dc in the areas tested)
They have a sibling policy but must be getting to the end of the siblings of hand picked families. The school is probable getting more 'comprehensive'. I think currently unless you are a sibling or part of the selected % you have to live within a mile of the school.
We decided not to send the dc here (as the subjects that ours are strongest in were weaker than other alternatives) but the people I do know who sent children are happy and have never mentioned excessive detentions. Because of it's size and structure it is seen by parents as the best school for bright boys with SEN. I'm not sure the school is overjoyed by this!
I may be thinking of a different school but it shows there are schools who put a lot of emphasis on little things - they only want pupils who parents are 100% engaged in their education. I think it is to keep the middle class peer group.
Think you can be 100% engaged in your child's education but still mainly leave the responsibility for things with your DC's. Although maybe I could support DD more with her organisation as she does find it a challenge ? Trouble is, so do I ! And she is doing well both generally and in learning to be organised.
Am hoping that a few consequences around organisation and giving her, along with the school's expectations, responsibilty for organising herself will not be a bad thing overall.
Secondly to respond to Buffin's post up-thread about these issues being very tied up with DC's SEN issues ...
It seems to me that children with SEN and those of lower ability really do not get a fair deal from teachers and schools regarding praise and punishment.
If you are bright, NT (no SEN), and from a supportive family you are praised to the hills.
If you have any issues your school experience is blighted by excessive punishments and your self-esteem suffers at the expense of your learning potential as well as your confidence.
I think we are only just beginning to take on board individual differences, and to reward effort over results.
Silas, that's all correct, and thanks for not properly outing me/it on this thread. I don't mind people knowing what school it is as long as it's not named here as many teachers do try to help, they really do, so I would be mortified if they felt that wasn't appreciated. However there are a few teachers etc who are simply not getting it, or talking to colleagues as they probably should be doing, and it's making me so stressed. I feel on the back foot the whole time.
Education is my entire life, and I am also a trained teacher, so I am more engaged with what my kids do than practically every other parent I know, because of this. The kids have short hair, full uniform, shiny shoes, replete pencil cases and all the other things that compliant families ensure their children have for school.
Silas, knowing the school, you will know what it does that we felt was important to our family culturally, as well as the SEN provision, of course. We looked around the SEN departments of the two nearest schools to us, and simply despaired. So much underachievement, you would not believe.
I almost didn't come back to this thread yesterday as I was feeling quite upset and a bit got at by about half of the posters who don't seem to understand that schools get their home/school communication wrong sometimes with regard to SEN children (and even kids in general) and I feel awkward justifying my parenting over and over again on here when the reality is I have been dealt a pretty challenging hand by fate and I am doing my level best to ensure DS1 and DS2 get a good education. So I've decided to leave the thread now for my own sanity, as it's not helping. Thanks however to those posters who were supportive.
Take care Boff - and thanks for a really interesting discussion
I ^ dream^ of communication from the school.........!!!!!!!
Had you thought about a) making sure your children do their homework and b) tell them that if they pretend to be ill at school the wrath of God will descend and all weekend plans will be cancelled? Just a thought
Oops. Please ignore my last post. Made the mistake of only reading the OP.
OP, I think you sound like you are doing a great job. I am sorry you have found the thread upsetting, and I can quite see why.
I don't understand the theory behind this sort of micromanagement: if successful, the school will have trained you to manage every detail of your children's lives - surely that is not the desired outcome?
I would definitely expect to hear from school about any bullying or real trouble, at once. For misdemeanours that result from personality, immaturity, SEN, or being dreamy, I just don't see how frequent negative contact with the parents or punishment of the children helps. And it must be very demoralising and draining.
I agree about rewarding effort over results.
Oh Boffinmum, sorry you have felt judged.
Even I got that you just needed a bit of a rant and maybe some compassion.
My DD2 has Aspergers, and I completely despair of when she starts secondary and has to somehow magically obtain organisation skills. Yesterday she forgot her entire homework folder, which we only realised when we got to her occupational therapy appointment on the other side of the city. By the time we'd have got back to the school it would have been closed; luckily a dear friend that lives near the school picked it up for us. This is routine behaviour for DD2, this is with a lovely teacher who is trained in SN, and the extra help of a resource teacher, and all sorts of strategies in place...
Anyway, I agree with twoterrors that you are doing a great job.
And I like your blog
*organisational skills I mean!
My dds is just in reception but I can see this sort of thing happening at her school.
We get approx 3 emails a day to deal with. Every fooking email is sent as an attachment so we cannot easily open the Email for a quick look. Every week there is something or the other. A request for crafts stuff, a request for money, a request for ingredients, a request for help in school. What the fook is the school for then!?
It's like the parents have nothing better to do then deal all day with schools whimsical requests! Can't they send emails without attachments? How hard is that.
3 emails a day? Really? Wow! What were yesterday's 3 about?
I'm amazed to hear of all these emails from schools - especially the personal ones. I've only ever had a couple of requests to go into school and talk with someone about an issue ( sadly karate related with DS ! ), and no personal emails - just the general stuff about can you make a cake for the fete etc. etc - and even those are mercifully occasional
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